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Mole National Park - A must-visit animal, plant kingdom

BY: Mohammed Fugu
A herd of elephants moving around the reserve and Some revellers on a ride into the reserve
A herd of elephants moving around the reserve and Some revellers on a ride into the reserve

The chirping of birds, screeching of monkeys and yaking and wahoos of baboons welcome every tourist to the park.

It has very rich flora and fauna and is arguably Ghana's first, largest and most prestigious national park.

Located near Damongo in the West Gonja Municipality in the Savannah Region, the Mole National Park is managed mainly for its outstanding natural, physical, historical and cultural values.

Established in 1958, the park covers an area of 4,840sq km of undulating terrain with steep scarps.

Biodiversity

It is rich in biodiversity and home to some 742 vascular plant species and over 90 mammal species, including five primate species.

Some of the species of conservation and tourist interest include Elephants, Buffalos, Kobs, Western Hartebeests, Roan Antelopes, Defassa Waterbucks, Oribis, Bohor Reedbucks and Red-flanked Duikers.

Rare and endangered species include the Yellow-backed Duiker, Black and White Colobus Monkey, Leopard and Lion.

Also, the park is home to 334 bird species, 33 reptiles, nine amphibian species and some 120 butterfly species.

The park has the most viable elephant population in Ghana, and as such, is a hotspot for elephant conservation.

It is also said to have a unique breed of elephants, which are not hostile, not aggressive or insecure, compared to other elephant populations in the rest of Africa.

Mole shares its borders with 33 fringe communities in two regions - Northern and Upper West.

Adjoining communities

In addition to savouring the precious flora and fauna through game viewing, bird watching, informative walks and camping, visitors to the park can also visit some of the neighbouring communities and experience their rich cultural heritage, architecture and traditional livelihood activities, among others.

Located near the park are the ancient Larabanga Mosque, Mystic Stone, Mognori Eco-Village and a host of sites that revellers can also visit to spice up their tour.

The park is also Ghana’s most developed tourism site in terms of tourist amenities, as it has West Africa’s first luxury safari lodge nestled in the heart of the Mole forest.

Known as the Zaina Lodge, it provides world-class hospitality service with a unique touch. There are also very affordable guest houses within the park’s community.

Serene environment

The Manager of the Park, Chief Ali Mahama, in an interview, said: "For those who want to interact with nature and also a serene environment to relax, Mole is obviously the best destination."

He indicated that the park had put in place stringent measures to provide quality services to tourists while ensuring their safety.

Chief Mahama added: "We have reviewed our prices upwards marginally to reflect the current economic situation, we have packages for both middle and low-income earners."

However, poaching and illegal logging have been the biggest threat at the Mole National Park.

Chief Mahama expressed worry about the increasing cases of poaching around the reserve and said management had put in place stringent measures to help protect the wildlife in the park.

Experiences

A Canadian reveller, Irene Thompson, who shared her experience with the Daily Graphic, said, "I am really enjoying the place, I get to connect with nature and have a good rest and that's all I need to end the year with."

Another tourist, Abubakari Salifu, said he had enjoyed his visit to the place and would continue to share fond memories with friends.

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